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The new year has started and along with it comes a season of ALEC meetings.

Why does it start now - for me?

Many of you may not be aware – because it is never spoken about –
the first action/protest against the American Legislative Exchange Council started HERE on DK for their April meeting in 2011 - was organized in a diary on DK.  Never before had there been a protest again ALEC.

Without that protest there would have been no whistleblower – there would have been no document drop of legislation – there would have been no ALECExposed webpage at the Center for Media and Democracy.

HERE at DK is where it all started and I think it is necessary to give credit where credit is due to the whole DK Exposing ALEC group and the many activists and activist groups that participated in the successful 2011 Cincinnati ALEC action, an action that started HERE on Daily Kos.

In 2014 I want to protest at every ALEC event across the United States – but how the event is organized will determine whether I spend my money to attend.

We are all aware of the destruction that ALEC “model legislation” is causing in our country.  I don’t need to reiterate the many instances.  We should all be aware of the fact that ALEC legislators across the US in the state and federal governments are sponsoring and promoting ALEC legislation.  

ALEC is a national problem – that needs a national solution.

That being said – I am not one to look backward – I need to look forward.  

I would like 2014 to be the year that we recognize that in the battle against ALEC there have to be more and many/ varied voices that are heard and listened to, in order for the movement to progress.  

I would like 2014 to be the year where we realize that there are many roles and many voices that are needed in order to stop the destruction being caused by ALEC in the USA.

Many Voices, Different Voices
(First, and up front - this is not about bashing the nonprofits.  I am only sharing what I have seen as a evolving pattern.  Hoping for change)

    Center for Media and Democracy
    Common Cause
    Color of Change
All of these are nonprofit agencies that report to a Board of Directors and rely on corporate funders to continue their work.  They have made significant contributions with online actions and public discourse regarding the American Legislative Exchange Council– BUT, they are restricted in their communications - by their business structure.  The politics of running/maintaining a nonprofit organization requires them to maintain a “political/public” posture that does not include actively promoting protests/direct actions.  If you look at the actions of these nonprofits over the past 18 months –they have been mainly the “face” of the discourse, for the media. And that has been their role.

These organizations provide a public media face in the fight against ALEC.  They are the “publicly acceptable” guest speakers on MSM and training sessions across the US.  They do interviews, they write articles for the MSM.  They look the part, they speak the part – for the MSM.  
They inform – but they do not specifically make a call for “direct action”.  
They just don't and that has been their role.

The unions in the early days of the protests against ALEC - wanted nothing to do with the protests, and specifically the protestors.  They didn't want to be associated with the rag-tags and specifically the black-shirts. Sooooo - the unions did nothing, absolutely nothing.

That has changed.

Last year at OKC, Chicago, and Washington DC - the local union members pretty much took control of the protests - organized them and rallied the voices they wanted to show up to be heard.

Unfortunately, they don't want everybody's voice to be heard.  
The message they want to be heard - is organized, it's civilized and it does exactly what the organizers tell it to do.
They have a defined idea what "their rally" should look like.  
They still don't want to be associated with the rag-tags and specifically the black-shirts.

I love protesting with the  rag-tags and the black-shirts.  I love their lack of abandonment - I love their passion, I love their spirit.
I don't like attending union rallies.  I don't like being told what to yell, where to march or the peer-pressure to behave.

Last year in Chicago, I protested with the  rag-tags and the black-shirts on one day
the union people on the next.
The union rally was "awe inspiring" in group size - but not in passion.
The  rag-tags and the black-shirts were "awe inspiring in passion", but not in group size.
Both were okay - but I preferred being with the rag-tags and the black-shirts.

While the roles of the two different groups (unions/nonprofits - ragtags/blackshirts) may be mutually exclusive; the end game is the same.

In that sense, the actions of the nonprofits and the union officials can not and should not dictate the activities of other activists.  
Two different styles of message CAN coexist, because neither - repeat, neither - message should be considered better than the other.  

Both sets of voices are necessary
in order for the maximum amount of exposure to be achieved
and 2014 is the year to recognize that a many voices/many actions approach is appropriate.  
One group/concern should not control the message or the process.

In our society there is a tendency to convey deference to those who have a message that is considered "more civilized" and controlled.
Just because that has happened, does not mean it is correct or should happen.  

The voice of the citizen activist needs to be heard.

The voices of the young people need to be heard.

So where does the direct action come from?

In the mid 1990’s ALEC was brought to the attention of the U.S. people through a series of articles
– and nothing really happened –
but the cornerstone had been laid.

In the early 2000’s ALEC was again brought to the attention of the U.S. people through a series of reports and articles
 – and nothing really happened –
but the mortar needed to build the movement started to come together.

In 2011 a call for action against ALEC, was placed
– here on the pages of DK –
and things truly began to happen.

     Kansas City, MO
     Marriott Downtown
     Spring Task Force Meeting
     May 2

     Hilton Anatole Hotel
     41st Annual Meeting
     July 30 - Aug 1

     Washington DC (probably)
     States and Nation Summit
     Probably the first week of December

What I hope for
2013 was a historic year for ALEC.
   They started their city/county initiative, bringing ALEC evil to municipalities.
    Across the US you can find ALEC members,
    both public and private members - already sitting on County Boards

   They have created a 501c4, the Jeffersonian Project,
    to circumvent lobbying laws in the states.

We can't let 2014 be a historic year for ALEC.
My wish is that 2014 is a historic year for ALEC activists,
ALL ALEC activists
– the nonprofits
– the unions and
– the citizen activist.

Who in those cities is willing to stand up and fight for the voices of the public - by using their voices in public?

And - I hope to see you there!!!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Need more info on ALEC (5+ / 0-)

    This DK commentis a good starting point.

  •  but ALEC's best weapon is rw radio and no org (4+ / 0-)

    anization that i know of outside of the specifically targeted rush boycott and is doing anything to challenge it

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 04:53:11 PM PDT

    •  I think ALEC's best weapon is our own (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MNDem999, Hector Solon

      state representatives and soonly it will be our local reps as well.

      The reps who sign on the dotted line with the blood of their constituents are the ones who are doing the most harm. And, make no mistake about it, they are ashamed.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 10:34:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  republicans push ALEC agenda, so we need to elect (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        fewer republicans.

        rw radio gets a lot of republicans elected.

        This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

        by certainot on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 08:36:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree but I think that the power is in the (0+ / 0-)

          statehouses. It has been a winning strategy for them so that they are extending it into the cities and towns now.

          Not all repugs are ALECs but all ALECs are repugs.

          I tried to get a Foreclose on ALEC project started here in Oregon. We have a website and FB page and petition but just could not push it over to public exposure to shame them. We need follow-up by citizens to seek them all out by emailing all the repugs to ask if they are ALECs and then make it public via letter to the editor, questions at election rallies, protests, petition deliveries, etc.


          We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

          by occupystephanie on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 05:11:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  OU ducks and OSU beavs are big supporters of ALEC (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            i wrote a diary recently re the walker emails & his use of talk radio.


            i have a suggestion re the fact that oregon and oregon state are big supporters of ALEC.

            alec's success (there was a diary in the last 4 or 6 months graphing alec's influence in state legislatures over its history with the explosion in the early 90's. i assume it's legislative success is similar. it also showed many of those early alec members were dems but shows them dropping off as they got wise. i think you'll find that alecs legislative success is tied closely with talk radio and the fact that the left ignores it.

            rw radio is coordinated locally with alec type state oriented think tanks. some are national long term campaigns. for instance the immigration issue is often misinterpreted - most of the anti immigration and terrorism BS (minutemen, giant fences, etc) that triggered much of the current 'debate' (while it is an important issue that needs fixing) was started and given prominence and buzz in the rest of the media with constant pounding from 1200 stations-- to initiate and help pass alec voter suppression legislation- successfully in large part because the left ignores talk radio. your local radio stations are coordinated to pass alec shit locally.

            you have rw radio in oregon and those stations work for ALEC and the GOP and their politicians in some variation to that described in the walker diary. i guarantee it. you'll find whatever alec is pushing will be coming out of those radio stations.

            from the link in my sig you'll find oregon u and oregon state broadcast on and endorse 6 limbaugh stations and maybe some other non limbaugh RW stations (hannity, beck, etc).

            they ALL do ALEC talking points.

            if you want publicity for your ALEC protest i suggest finding one of those stations that might be appropriately located in town and doing some peaceful picketing. media and politicians will notice- because the left NEVER does that.

            it would be completely different.

            likewise if you have students and faculty at those unis you could use their help to picket the uni to find apolitical alternatives to those ALEC-supporting stations. the uni sports logos (ducks and beavers)  on those ALEC megaphones  bring community cred and ad dollars to those alec efforts.  it's practically free for ALEC.

            the station pays a bit to a licensing company ( for beavers it's learfield sports - not sure about ducks) for a HUGE value to ALEC and the GOP.

            i tried to find out how much the CU buffs get from 850 KOA, the denver mega limbaugh station, and no one in the CU admin knew or could tell me. learfield sports wouldn't tell me because it was 'confidential'. learfield even has an office in the stadium! with no one in it- maybe during games, but i'm in NM.

            the amt is probably miniscule compared to the damage the 4 beaver supported limbaugh stations do to public ed and the state funded schools/colleges in oregon on behalf of GOP ALEC. and they probably package it with their TV licensing so it looks like the unis getting a lot - but if the uni is pushed to get a separate figure for the radio portion it may be very easy in the community to make an issue of getting the beavers and ducks out of rw radio. how much is it worth to the uni to crap all over its mission statement?

            that would be a huge blow to ALEC and the GOP in oregon (and could spread). protesting at the unis, stations, letters to eds, etc.......

            This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

            by certainot on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 07:35:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  There at it again down here. (4+ / 0-)

         Did you happen to catch this ? ☛ ALEC Wines and Dines AZ Legislators

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 06:03:13 PM PDT

  •  The best cure for ALEC? Run them out of office, (4+ / 0-)

    forever.  If they own no legislators, they have no power.

    Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

    by Ohiodem1 on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 08:37:24 PM PDT

    •  We have to try to make ALEC membership (4+ / 0-)

           an issue in state races, the more publicity the better.

      The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

      by Azazello on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 09:46:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Azazello, Ohiodem1, MNDem999, Hector Solon

        We have at least 18 here in Oregon and they have taken over the GOP leadership in the state.

        District constituents need to email their ALEC rep and ask them if they are an ALEC and how it helps them serve us. Then publicize that in letter to the editor or here or wherever they can. They should always have that question at their election rallies.

        We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

        by occupystephanie on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 10:38:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Have tried to tell... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Azazello, Ohiodem1

        .. folks that based on your particular State, anti-ALEC push is cost effective. Hits dozen birds with couple stones.

        Great piece totally agree. Voices on the ground make a difference, confronting (ambushing Rep in public) makes a difference, Give them no peace.

        Today, smart-ass "consultant" was giving me crap about chasing down DeVos' again. Was thinking - "Well a-__ because YOU & YOUR idiot buddies didn't listen to us on ALEC et al MI is RTW state, & oh, by the way. Amway clan about to dump $M's on attacking our public ed."

        Sorry venting. But this is NOT A GAME of political football on this one, its not about paving roads or not, its about democracy surviving.

        Remember Feb 22 2011 exactly 9:32PM when start "new" ALEC folder (had one in 2006) and was in Cinn.

        Those "kids" did a great job, the spark that got us farther than EVER against not just ALEC, but the whole flipping Heritage (SPN/State Stink tanks etc) network.

        Who's ever accomplished that? Intellectually (ala Clarkson for example) yes, but never on the ground like this.

        Expansion into Cities and Municipal Govt due to lack of money in ALEC, they are expanding their "market scope" in free-market business parlance.

        We MUST continue to hit them while they are over extending.

        The fight against ALEC must run its course, bit quiet these days (plotting stuff) but count me in. This is about our Country & Citizen Govt - Yes or No.

        Back to lurk, might put out my Hillsdale files - we new a new front. How about ALEC collegiate farm schools?

        For more than occasional tweets on #ALEC & #SaveMI.

        by Hector Solon on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 09:23:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Three years ago, prior to the Cincinnati (0+ / 0-)

          demonstration, it is unlikely that one American in 500 had ever heard of ALEC.  Six months prior to that, I would have been among that same 500.  Not one American in 1000 would have known about the interlocking series of think tanks (recently renamed "Stink Tanks") under the aegis of the State Policy Network (SPN).  I was among the 1000.

          In early 2011, a Google search on "American Legislative Exchange Council" scarcely got 100 hits.  Now, in 0.28 seconds, 280 milliseconds, a Google search yields 6,820,000 results.  Less than 100 to Six Million, Eight Hundred Twenty Thousand results.

          My local newspaper had scarcely ever reported about ALEC, and usually only to quote an ALEC "expert" on some legislative topic, never to expose their ownership of the Republican Party membership in the Ohio General Assembly.  For years, ALEC has been writing the laws that get passed in the Ohio legislature.  For years, no one new that our legislature answered to ALEC, and ALEC called the legislative shots in Ohio.  I can't say that this has changed since ALEC near-founder John Kasich became Ohio governor four years ago (we have a chance to vote him out in November), but at least many Ohioans know that ALEC runs our state government, and that people who care about representative government in Ohio are aware of this situation, and that thousands of Ohioans are actively publicizing that ALEC owns the Republican Majority in both houses and our governor.  And we are working to run them out of office at the ballot box where Ohioans still have some power over the legislature.

          Of course our ALEC-owned legislature, AG, Secretary of State and Governor are working diligently to deny the right to vote and suppress the votes of those who may oppose their roughshod looting of our state.

          It's happening in Hector Solon's Michigan as well.  In Puddytat and GilesGoatBoy's and BleedingHeart's Wisconsin.  And thousands of voices who care about our democracy are standing up and being heard about running ALEC legislators out of office forever.  A legislature that answers to the Koch Brothers, Washington DC lobbyists and corporate lawyers, prison privateers and profiteers, public school destroyers, environmental destructionists, polluters, anti-green energy interests is NOT working for the citizens who elected them, and must be run out of office.

          It's time to return the GooGoo's to power in America.  GooGoos, according to ALEC founder Paul Weyrich, are people who advocate for Good Government.  Well, I, for one, advocate Good Government that works for the people who elected them, not those who fund their election campaigns.  Here is Mr. Weyrich explaining why ALEC and all Republican want to suppress your vote:

          37 seconds is all it took Weyrich to explain all you need to know about Republicans and ALEC.

          End of rant.

          Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

          by Ohiodem1 on Fri Apr 04, 2014 at 09:38:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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